Biblical HebrewGetting to Know פִּעֵלVerbs by Chris Heard
Table of Contents Before You Begin ...................... 3 Abbreviations ............................ 6 Using פִּעֵלverbs ....................... 7 Recognizing פִּעֵלverbs .......... 16 Forming פִּעֵלverbs ................ 33 Credits ..................................... 58
Before You Begin …… ensure that you recognize the various inflections of the &לverbs.… ensure that you understand how שְׁו(אand דָּגֵשׁinteract with guttural consonants and with .ר
Also, remember that certain patterns can create predictablevariations. This slideshow focuses on core patterns. It does not illustrate every possible variation.
Furthermore, this slideshow is intended to supplement, not replace, classroom instruction and practice.
Abbreviations 1, 2, 3 indicate grammatical person m, f, c indicate grammatical gender s, p indicate grammatical number R1, R2, R3 indicate root letters
Using פִּעֵלVerbs The פִּעֵלis the third most frequently used בִּנ2י(ןin the 5תַּנ7״ (after the &לand ,)הִפְעִיל appearing over 6,450 times.
Like the ,&לthe פִּעֵלoperates in the active voice.
In cases where Biblical Hebrewuses the same שֹׁ<שׁin both the &לand the ,פִּעֵלthe &לtends to be declarative and the פִּעֵל to be factitive.
Example: כבד)&ל( כָּבַד he was honored he considered)פִּעֵל( כִּבֵּד [someone] honored
Example: למד)&ל( לָמַד he learned)פִּעֵל( לִמֵּד he taught
In other cases, a שֹׁ<שׁmay be represented in both &לand ,פִּעֵלwith no obvious semanticrelationship between the two forms.
Some שִׁיםEָ שׁmay appear onlyin the ,פִּעֵלnot in the &לat all. Example: “ צִוָּהto command”
So you might use the פִּעֵלas afactitive verb (if the שֹׁ<שׁalso appears in )&לor as a declarative verb (if the שֹׁ<שׁ doesn’t appear in the .)&ל
For most verbs, it’s probablybetter just to learn “this שֹׁ<שׁ means so-and-so in the ”פִּעֵלthan to try to derive the ’פִּעֵלs sense from the same שֹׁ<שׁin the .&ל
Recognizing פִּעֵלVerbs In many cases, a דָּגֵשׁin R2 is your key to recognizing a .פִּעֵל Each conjugation does have special considerations, though.
Recognizing the פִּעֵלPerfect If a verb follows the suffix pattern, has an i-class vowel under R1, and has a דָּגֵשׁin R2, it’s probably a פִּעֵלperfect.
קטֵלִּ R1’s i-vowelThe suffix דּב ה ְר ָּ ִ and the דָּגֵשׁindicates שׁלַחְ תִּי ּ ִ in R2 indicatea perfect. a .פִּעֵל שׁלַמְתֶּםּ ִ
נ חַם ִ A guttural inThe suffix 5Oבּ ֵ R2 may or mayindicates תִּיNַבּעִ not changea perfect. R1’s vowel. תֶּןNַ ח ִמ
Alert! When R2 is a guttural, use R1’svowel to distinguish the פִּעֵלperfect from the &לperfect. חַשׁ ָכּ 3ms &לperfect “to grow lean” חֵשׁ ִכּ 3ms פִּעֵלperfect “to deny”
Recognizing the פִּעֵלImperfect If a verb has an imperfect prefix, check for a שְׁו(אin the prefix, an a- vowel under R1, and a דָּגֵשׁin R2. If you see those, you have a פִּעֵל imperfect.
חלֵק ַּ ְי The prefix’s ,שְׁו(אThe affixes תּדבֵר ּ ְַ the a-vowel, andindicate an תּ ב ִי כ ַ ְס ּ ְ the דָּגֵשׁin R2imperfect. תּ שְׁלוּ indicate a .פִּעֵל ּ ְ ַ ב
Recognizing the פִּעֵלImperative The פִּעֵלimperative looks just like the פִּעֵלimperfect, but without the prefix. If R3 is ,הR2’s vowel may lengthen in the imperative.
If it looks like a פִּעֵלperfect, but R1 has an a-vowel, it’s probably a פִּעֵלimperative.
Recognizing the פִּעֵלInfinitives The פִּעֵלinfinitive* and adverbial infinitive** look exactly like the 2ms פִּעֵלimperative. * Or “infinitive construct.” ** Or “infinitive absolute.”
Exception: If R3 is ,הthe 2msimperative and the adverbial ֶ infinitive end in ,–הbut the infinitive ends in .–וֹת
Recognizing the פִּעֵלParticiple The ms פִּעֵלparticiple looks just like the 3ms פִּעֵלimperfect, but with a מas the prefixed letter.
Summary You see an unfamiliar verb. Might it be a ?פִּעֵל
Remember that a פִּעֵלwill have a דָּגֵשׁin R2* and will start with one of these: • no prefix • an imperfect prefix with a שְׁו(א • a prefixed ְמ * Unless R2 is a guttural.
If your probable פִּעֵלhas no prefix, check R1.• If R1 has an i-vowel, it’s a פִּעֵלperfect.• If R1 has an a-vowel, it’s a פִּעֵל infinitive, imperative, or adverbial infinitive (listed by frequency).
If your probable פִּעֵלhas an imperfect prefix, it’s obviously an imperfect.If your probable פִּעֵלhas a ְ מprefix, it’s a participle.
And that’s all it takes to recognize most פִּעֵלverbs!
Forming פִּעֵלVerbs If you compose sentences in Biblical Hebrew, eventually you’ll need to use the .פִּעֵלThis is pretty easy to do, if you watch out for gutturals and .ר
Forming the פִּעֵלPerfect Start by applying the appropriate sufformative to the root, to show person, gender, and number.
Now consider the three rootletters in your word. If all three are strong (not gutturals or ,)ר forming the piel is easy: …
… simply vocalize R1 with a חִי<קand lengthen (double) R2 with a .דָּגֵשׁ
Of course, you still needto vocalize R2, and howyou do this depends on the sufformative.
• If your verb has no sufformative (it’s 3ms), vocalize R2 with a יOֵ.צ• If your verb has a sufformative that’s a vowel (3fs or 3cp), give R2 a vocal .שְׁו(א• If your verb has a sufformative that begins with a consonant (all other cases), vocalize R2 with a חS.פַּת
If your verb has a guttural in R3, or a guttural or רin R2, the vowels will be a little different. Your best bet is to look the שׁׂ<שׁup in a lexicon to see how its פִּעֵלis vocalized, rather than trying to apply rules to figure it out.
That said, here are a fewtypical patterns for פִּעֵל forms with weak root letters.
• If R2 is הor חor ,עit will refuse the .דָּגֵשׁSuch an R2 might take יOֵ צlike strong פִּעֵלforms, or חS פַּתinstead.• If R2 is אor ,רit will refuse the ,דָּגֵשׁ and R1 and R2 will both usually take a יOֵ.צ• If R3 is a חor ,עR2 will usually take a חS.פַּת
Do not be upset if you find exceptions to these generalpatterns, and remember thatsufformatives can affect the vowel patterns as well.
Forming the פִּעֵלImperfect Start by applying the appropriate preformative and sufformative to the root, to show person, gender, and number.
All imperfect preformativestake a vocal שְׁו(אin the פִּעֵל (except the 1cs ,אwhich requires a חS.)חָטֵף–פַּת
In the פִּעֵלimperfect, R1 regularly takes a חSפַּת(except when R2 is אor ,רwhich makes R1 take מֵץW).
R2’s vowel is the mostvariable vowel in the פִּעֵל imperfect. It’s usually a יOֵ ,צbut …
• If the sufformative starts with a vowel sound (2fs, 3mp, 2mp), give R2 a vocal .שְׁו(א• If R3 is חor ,עR2 will probably want a חS.פַּת• If R3 is ,הfollow the normal third-( הor )ל״הpattern.
If your verb has a guttural in R3, or a guttural or רin R2, use a lexicon to confirm the proper vocalization.
Forming the פִּעֵלImperative To form the פִּעֵלimperative, simply form a second-person imperfect, then remove the preformative.
Forming the פִּעֵלInfinitives In most cases, you form the פִּעֵלinfinitive* and adverbial infinitive** just like you form the פִּעֵלimperative. * Or “infinitive construct.” ** Or “infinitive absolute.”
If R3 is ,הreplace the הwith וֹת when forming the infinitive (this is very common in other יםX בִּנ2י(נas well). The adverbialinfinitive remains identical to the imperative.
If R3 is a חor ,עyou form theadverbial imperative by givingR2 a יOֵ צand R3 a ח גְּנוּבָהS*.פַּת * Or “furtive patach.”
Forming the פִּעֵלParticiples To form the masculine singular פִּעֵלparticiple, simply prefix ְמ to the imperative form.
To form the femininesingular participle, append אֶלֶתto the masculine - singular participle.
To form the masculine andfeminine plural participles, give R2 a vocal שְׁו(אand append thenormal suffixes for plural nouns.
Credits Dead Sea photo by Wikimedia Commons contributor Xta11. Used under a CC-SA license. All other content by Dr. Chris Heard, Associate Professor of Religion, Pepperdine University. Released under a CC-BY license. Grammatical terminology used in this presentation follows R. Holmstedt and J. Cook, Biblical Hebrew: An Illustrated Introduction (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2013).